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Saturday, June 29, 2013

On Keeping Old Stuff

lamp needing tlc
The last time exbf was here to help me, he asked me if he could have one of the lamps in the basement because his lamp beside his bed no longer worked. I have lamps in the basement?  I went down to look a bit later and he showed me that he had brought the two outside. Oh, sure. I thought you meant smaller lamps. You can have one, but let's test it.

Since I have an outdoor outlet, we tested them. He took one and plugged it up, turned it on, and it worked. I was handing him the other to test, but he said he like the one he tried first. Sneaky man got away with the good light bulb in the lamp! Oh, that did not matter at all. 

The lamp above has a future. I will put it in the trash or put it on the curb or sell it in salvage thing or fix it up...hmmm. What to do? It has to be cleaned with steel wool and spray painted. I cannot decide today. It does work and the bulb is good.

Once upon a time, I recovered lamp shades. They sold better on a lamp, even an old lamp since most people were buying the shades for antique lamps. The working lamp above cost me $1 and was in fairly good shape when I brought it home. A $2 lamp might sell a shade that cost $200. Sometimes, people wanted the lamp if it were a particularly nice lamp after I wiped it

He has never made many remarks about stuff in the basement. Others have made ugly remarks. However, when people have needed things, they ask me if I might have it. They are too busy keeping a bare and spare and uncluttered home. Actually, the basement has too much in it because I was no longer able to get down there and work on things. But, I kept bringing things in to work on. Oooops! Little by little, I am getting rid of things down there. But, it is not a high priority.

The basement does not open into the first floor of my house. There is a concrete set of steps in a concrete enclosure from the outside, leading into the basement and protecting the basement from rainwater running into the door.

A woman who jumped on every trend decided minimalism was for her. She got rid of everything but two washcloths and two towels in her bathroom. Since she decided to change like a chameleon with each new trend, she often made foolish choices. This was just one of her foolhardy moves. I probably tend to the heavy side of possessions. I do own about two dozen towels and 40+ washcloths, some for tp I can wash. Some of my towels and washcloths are threadbare, some found, and some bought at thrift stores or yard sales. Most match. How can you go wrong with white?

Most of my stuff leaves one way or another. The basement is about 40' x 30', so it is very handy for tools, lawnmowers, the grill, lawn furniture and assorted projects.

Below is a site and excerpt that exemplifies how keeping excess stuff can be beneficial. I am not doing the same thing he is, but his take is interesting. I do realize that people with a smaller house or housing cannot keep much around.

From Bayou Renaissance Man

This was a page of blogs he suggested. The part below is a very good response. I have always thought that minimalism that purges a life of everything is a huge mistake.  I often wander around the blogs, from one to another. I often end up at this blog. I thought there was more to the response than is here. Go there and see what Bayou Renaissance Man has to say on a number of topics.

UPDATE: I only meant to include one of his posts, about the fourth down in the list:

I am in no way advocating survivalism, just thought the response about what to keep, below, was good.

Ryan said...
Bayou Renaissance Man, Thanks a lot for the linkage!

@ Raven, To me it isn't so much about the amount of stuff you have. Survivalism and or hard money. Alpha Strategy style personal economics tend toward being stuff heavy. It is more about intentionally stocking the right stuff vs hoarding random junk.

A few dozen 2x4's stored off the ground under cover makes a lot of sense if you have the space, however keeping every random scrap of wood you have cut in a decade of projects in a big pile doesn't make sense.

Storing a dozen pair of tough serviceable clothes and boots against an uncertain future makes sense; keeping worn out, torn and stained dress pants doesn't.

Your turn
Do you tend to keep things for future projects or use without being a hoarder? What do you keep that you can really use? Do others ever ask you for things?


  1. I don't have a basement, but I am able to tuck away some things in my small attic. X used to give away or throw out things I kept that I knew would be needed in the future. Drove me crazy.


  2. Janie,
    Good for you with the attic storage space. That would drive me crazy, too. I wonder if some people throw out their winter coats each spring! Mostly, my projects go away. of course, these two lamps were supposed to be for sale. However, I will allow someone who actually needs my "project stuff" can surely have it, especially if they have been in the least bit helpful to me.

  3. I have found that I will fill any available space! I've been renting a lovely large apartment for the past 7 years, and sometimes I'm astonished at how much stuff is in it--although some of it belongs to family members with less space to store things.

    I have found that I don't miss most things if I give them away to friendly people, but I can't imagine paring down to two towels and two washcloths!


    1. Jessnhalinda,
      I, too, will fill all available That is nice you can help other family members.

      If I give anything away, I need it within two weeks. Of course, it is gone even if I know the person who asked for it...grrr. I never mention the dilemma.

      Honestly, I use at least two wash cloths for my face and body and sometimes two towels each day. (That does not include the washcloth tp.) I do hang towels up and reuse them.

      That woman jumped on any new concept and did it better than anyone else.

  4. Once upon a time my sister was married to a guy whose family was of that mind set. They threw the lights and decorations out while they were still on the Christmas tree. If you had 12 items of clothing you only needed 12 hangers right? When the weather turned cool in the Autumn you had no need for a fan so out it went. They once had a Thanksgiving meal where there were absolutely NO LEFTOVERS! They licked the platter clean!

    1. Janet,
      Your sister must have been married to some of the people my mother told me about. After Christmas, they hauled the tree to the road with light strings, ornaments, the stand, and tinsel all intact. Even as a child, I knew that all that should be stored so it was ready the next year.

      Throw out the fan? No leftovers? Oh me, oh my. Before this house disintegrated, I had a room that held ACs, fans, heaters, all seasonal clothes and things like the ice cream freezer. Nope, the basement is too nasty for stuff like that.

      Your sister must have been astounded. I am and I did not live this.


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